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ATA exec tells Congress of urgent need to address U.S. infrastructure

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American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear, left, chats with Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman Roger F. Wicker before the hearing on February 13. (Courtesy: AMERICAN TRUCKING ASSOCIATIONS)

ARLINGTON, Va. — Saying that the nation is on the cusp of a transformation in the movement of freight, American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear Wednesday told a hearing of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation that there is an urgent need to address the nation’s failing infrastructure, pressing the committee to put forward a real solution that includes new revenues, including a fee at the terminal fuel rack.

The title of the hearing was “America’s Infrastructure Needs: Keeping Pace with a Growing Economy.”

Spear said radical technological change will, in the near future, allow trucks to move more safely and efficiently, and with less impact on the environment than the country ever dared to imagine. “Yet we are facing headwinds, due almost entirely to government action or, in some cases inaction that will slow or cancel out entirely the benefits of innovation,” Spear said. “Failure to maintain and improve the highway system that your predecessors helped to create will destroy the efficiencies that have enabled U.S. manufacturers and farmers to continue to compete with countries that enjoy far lower labor and regulatory costs.”

Spear noted that just during the first full week of February, chunks of falling concrete struck cars traveling under bridges in California and Massachusetts.

“We are no longer facing a future highway maintenance crisis – we’re living it – and every day we fail to invest, we’re putting more lives at risk,” he said.

The nation’s crumbling and failing infrastructure is taking a tremendous toll on Americans’ time and their pocketbooks, and has impacted the trucking industry in a significant way, Spear said.

“Trucking now loses $74.5 billion sitting in gridlock. That equates to 1.2 billion lost hours or 425,000 truck drivers sitting idle for an entire year,” he said. “These are the regressive costs of doing nothing. And they are reflected in the prices we all pay. These costs to consumers and economy are measurable… and they can and should serve as offsets for new spending on our nation’s infrastructure. The road system is rapidly deteriorating and costs the average motorist nearly $1,600 a year in higher maintenance and congestion expenses.”

While the cost and scale of addressing highway improvement needs is daunting, it is important to note that much of the congestion is focused at a relatively small number of locations, Speaker told the committee.

“Just 17 percent of National Highway System miles represents 87 percent of total truck congestion costs nationwide,” Spear said. “Many of these locations are at highway bottlenecks that are identified annually by the American Transportation Research Institute. ATRI just released its latest freight bottlenecks report, which identifies the top 100 truck bottlenecks around the country.  The worst bottleneck was Interstate 95 at State Route 4 in Fort Lee, New Jersey. More than half of the bottlenecks are in states represented by members of this committee, including 13 in Texas, six in Connecticut, and five in Washington State.

To address the nation’s need to re-invest in its roads and bridges, Spear again pushed forward the Build America Fund – a 20-cent per gallon fee at the terminal fuel rack phased in over four years that would generate billions in new revenues for investment.

Trucking pays for nearly half the Highway Trust Fund, and we’re willing to pay more,” he said. “The Build America Fund would increase the price of fuel 20 cents per gallon at the fuel rack – just a nickel a year over four years – generating $340 billion over 10 years. This new revenue is real, not fake funding like P3’s and asset recycling.

“The Build America Fund is the most conservative proposal… costing less than .01 cent on the dollar to administer, versus up to .35 cents a dollar for tolling schemes,” Spear said.

“We are at a critical point in our country’s history, and the decisions made by this committee over the next few months will impact the safety and efficiency of freight transportation for generations,” Spear said. “ATA looks forward to working with you to develop and implement sound policy that benefits the millions of Americans and U.S. businesses that rely on a safe and efficient supply chain.”

 

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The Nation

WIT’s Ellen Voie wins inaugural Cinderella to CEO of the Year honor

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Women In Trucking Association President Ellen Voie, left, accepts a copy of the book “From Cinderella to CEO, How to Master the 10 Lessons of Fairy Tales to Transform Your Work Life” from its author Cary Broussard. Voie was named the 2019 Cinderella to CEO of the Year. (Courtesy: WOMEN IN TRUCKING)

PLOVER, Wis. — Women In Trucking Association President and CEO Ellen Voie has been named the 2019 Cinderella to CEO of the Year — along with winning her award category “Climbing the Beanstalk” — for cultivating an innovative improvement to the workplace to create inroads for women to achieve career goals and enhanced work-life balance opportunities for all genders.

The Cinderella to CEO Awards recognize women who have overcome obstacles to change businesses, communities and industries for the better.

The inaugural awards, inspired by the book “From Cinderella to CEO, How to Master the 10 Lessons of Fairy Tales to Transform Your Work Life” by Cary Broussard, honored 200 women across industries and communities who were nominated for the awards.

“Our goal is to accelerate the successes of women who have worked hard and helped others to also succeed by connecting them to opportunities and each other,” said Broussard, CEO of Broussard Global. “In 2030, women in the U.S. are expected to control 75 percent of the wealth in this country. We want the wealth to be in the good, caring hands of those who strive to make the world a better place.”

Nine category winners, including Voie, were recognized by a distinguished Cinderella to CEO panel of judges for their support of other women, their transformational ability to overcome obstacles and barriers, and their desire to motivate others to accomplish their dreams. Each award category is tied to a chapter in Broussard’s book.

“I am so honored to receive the very first Cinderella to CEO award, as there were hundreds of nominations featuring some amazing women who have done truly notable and altruistic projects,” Voie said. “I am especially thrilled to be recognized by an organization outside the trucking industry, which makes the award even more special.”

Women In Trucking Association is a nonprofit association established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry. Membership is not limited to women, as 17 percent of its members are men who support the mission.

 

 

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The Nation

FMCSA explains Hours of Service proposed rule

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The Nation

10 finalists named in search for top rookie military veteran driver

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Last year’s top military rookie Quinton Ward sits in the cab of his new Kenworth with Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director. (Courtesy: KENWORTH TRUCK CO.)

KIRKLAND, Wash. — The top 10 finalists have been named in the search for the top rookie veteran driver.

Kenworth has teamed with the FASTPORT Trucking Track Mentoring Program and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring our Heroes Program to find the top rookie military veteran, who has made the successful transition from active duty to driving for a commercial fleet.

The top 10 finalists with their military branch and current truck fleet include:

  • Chris Bacon/U.S. Marines/TMC Transportation
  • Thomas Blitch/U.S. Navy and Naval Reserves/Werner Enterprises
  • Wade Bumgarner/U.S. Navy/Veriha Trucking
  • Joseph Campbell/U.S. Marines and U.S. Army/Roehl Transport
  • Keso Going/U.S. Army/Epes Transport
  • Steve Harris/U.S. Marines/Stevens Transport
  • Kevin Lassing/ U.S. Army/U.S. Xpress
  • Maliq Melton, U.S. Army, Melton Truck Lines.
  • Monte Morrone/U.S. Army and U.S. Marines/Prime Inc.
  • Tim Raub/ U.S. Navy/Averitt Express

Drivers were nominated by trucking companies that made a hiring commitment and pledge to hire veterans on www.truckingtrack.org  or, by members of the National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools, or Commercial Vehicle Training Association-member school.

“This year’s competition in the “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” program features an outstanding group of 10 finalists, who are representing their fleet and branch of military service. On behalf of Kenworth, we appreciate their dedication to excel as truck drivers in their new profession, and we are grateful for their military service to the country,” said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director.

“It is important for organizations across the United States to especially reach out to our veterans to help them make a smooth transition back into civilian life. This is one way that the trucking industry is doing its part,” said Brad Bentley FASTPORT president.

During the Great American Trucking Show August 22-24 in Dallas, three finalists in the recognition program will be announced as America’s top rookie military drivers. All 10 drivers will receive special recognition at the President George W. Bush Library during a tour and reception. The final winner will be announced in December.

For further information on the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award program, please visit www.transitiontrucking.org.

 

 

 

 

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